First things first and I’ll remind folk that this is a fan-run site and again stress that any contribution is welcome. I mean, for Chrissakes, we even let Yowie publish. Feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com with an article, an idea, an opinion or even just a clue (given I often lack any). And there’s also the ‘Submit a Story’ option. So have a crack, as the more the merrier.
I hope this weeks missive finds you all fighting fit, pizza pockets and rippa Rita’d for another fun filled and exciting week of finding something to do while we sit out the delay before Super Rugby starts for another year.
You could perhaps have soaked up some of the time watching the NFL Big Day Out, Superbowl LVIII, wherein the Kansas City Chiefs apparently knocked over the San Fransisco 49ers by 25-22 in overtime, after being locked 19-all at the end of regular time. Led by Quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the Kansas boys took 270 minutes to consume 70 minutes of clock time (60 minutes regular plus 10 extra), which was actually about 11min and 26sec of ball-in-play time, to go behind by 10pts early in the OT but then come screaming home for the victory. But if you think that was boring, it was all OK because there were 16,457 cut-away shots to show live actions shots Taylor Swift in her corporate box as she watched her boyfriend play his game.
Team sheets kindly provided by Key & Peele below.
Aside from that breathless show of American humility and quiet dignity, one could also be passing the time watching the 6Nations second round. I won’t bore you with details, especially given Brissy’s stellar job of reviewing the weekend HERE . However I will pause a bit to reflect on the unawarded try to the Scots that arguably/certainly cost them the match against France.
For history’s sake, with the score at 20-16 to the Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys and the clock labouring through the dying minute, a brilliant run by Scottish right winger Kyle Rowe took Scotland deep into France’s 22 and set the platform for the Scots to have one final joust at the Frogs line. Scotland went to tried and true trusted form with tight runners bashing each side of the ruck. The Scots were remorselessly eating through the last few yards, and the Frogs were getting increasingly desperate, until Scottish replacement No20 Sam Skinner drew the final card and drove his way into the chalk under a swell of heaving garlic and haggis. Everyone was protesting the try – the Frogs that it wasn’t and the Scots that it was – and it was poor old Aussie Nic Berry who had the forsaken job with the whistle. Nic declared the ball not grounded and so appealed to TMO Brian MacNeice to check for clear and obvious evidence to change his decision. The inquest proved inconclusive (see pic below for just how inconclusive) and it was devastation for Scotland as for the second week in a row the Scots were denied a last second try, only this time with the ramifications being far more momentous.
To be fair to Nic and Brian, it wasn’t an easy call at the time. And the over 4 minutes of time spent buggerising about with replays etc did nothing to change the fact that it was a bloody close call. Was it grounded? Was it grounded on the foot? Did sliding off the foot make it a knock on? Blah Blah Blah.
So it was what it was. And I think we need all remind ourselves occasionally of a few things:
- The Ref must see the score to award the score. If Ref Nic didn’t ‘hand on heart’ see the score, then he could not award it.
- At that point, the Ref will defer to his assistants – in whatever form they may be available – to see if they have clear and compelling evidence to overturn his initial call
- After all that, the situation must then revert and be considered through the prism of Law 6.5.a – wherein the sole judge of fact, law and score is the Ref. So ultimately it is the Refs call and once he has made his call, then that’s it.
- 20-20 hindsight is a marvellous thing to behold.
- That’s all very easy for me to say when I didn’t have skin in the game.
But it did get me thinking about some of the more controversial and memorable moments I have watched in recent times that heavily influenced a game and I thought to list here:
Wales v England 2021 – the ‘time off’ chip try
England had been repeatedly fouling. French Referee Pascal Gauzere blew the pea and told Farrell to speak to his lads. At Farrells request, the Ref blew time off. Then the Ref blew time on. And Dan Biggar capitalised on the bunched English defenders to put Josh Adams in the corner. Fair play?
Wales vs Ireland 2011 – quick throw in
10min into the 2nd half and Wales and Ireland are at each others throats with the score at 13-9. Ireland kicked the ball out, Wales took a quick throw and scooted down the line to score… but was it legal?
All Blacks v France 2007 Quarter Final
With the AB’s up but struggling against their perennial nemesis France to the tune of 18-13 in the 2007 RWC quarter final, the 68th minute unleashed a magnificent display of Gallic skill, flair and creative passing to send a young Michalak away and the AB’s to the airport…
All Blacks v BIL 2017 – the penalty that wasn’t
After the AB’s shellacked the BIL in the first test 30-15 and the second test saw Sonny Bill Williams red carded with the AB’s going down 24-21, the 3rd and deciding test of the 2017 BIL tour of Noo Zuland was always going to be hyper sensitive. And so it was, with the scores 15-all and the clock closing on 78 minutes at Eden Park, Welsh/BIL Hooker Ken Owens was ruled ‘accidentally offside’ when he ‘did not’ handle the ball from the kickoff reception and our favourite Referee Romain Poite reversed his initial penalty decision. Hmmm…
Wobbly vs All Blacks 2022 – Romain Poite being Romain Poite
On a September Thursday night in Melbourne, in front of a raucous 75,000 scaffolders and forklift drivers, the Wobbs dared to dream. With two tries to Andrew Kellaway and one to Pete Samu plus a wicked Nic White penalty to put the Wobbs to a 37-34 lead over the Darkness with under 1min to go, who will ever forget when our favourite Frog did this…
Who would be a Referee eh? Thoughts and opinions welcomed below.